I’m an introvert and that’s ok.
It’s who I am – but it has taken me a long time to accept that fact.
We introverts can be misunderstood, you see: our shyness can be mistaken for rudeness; our preference for reading a book over attending a big gathering assumed to be a tendency towards being anti-social, for example.
A couple of points about introverts:
We can be shy, and I for one am sorry if that is ever mistaken for rudeness – I can remember being at many a social occasion desperately trying to think of something to say (I hate small talk). My brain will be going a million to the dozen seeking something intelligent and appropriate to the occasion, making me more nervous, meaning that when I do manage to say something it tends to blurt out in a bit of gobbledegook (I tend to talk very fast when I’m nervous). I then feel really stupid, and then more nervous…big fat vicious circle.
Much better, then, to observe quietly!
I’m not as shy as I used to be – life events have given me a sense of boldness and the perspective that there are worse things than saying something daft.
A tip I’ve learnt is to give a dazzling smile, and to ask the other person about themselves – (lots of people love talking about themselves!), meaning we introverts only need to smile, nod, and make comments or ask more questions at the appropriate moments. Happily, I’ve had some interesting conversations this way – it’s a good way to break the ice.
And remember, you can move on by making a polite excuse if they’re really boring.
We’re Not Antisocial – speaking for myself and other introverts I know we love home comforts. Our favourite pastimes include reading one of our extensive selection of books, or watching a DVD.
Through these activities, we can escape to other places without moving an inch – and we don’t have to talk to anyone. That’s not necessarily being antisocial – sometimes I know I just don’t have the energy to have a conversation with someone.
That lack of conversational and social energy has got worse since Hugo died, understandably. My energy is finite, and most of it is usually spent on getting through the day – avoiding triggers, finding things to feel positive about, grieving for my little boy.
So, while it can be easier to stay in the sanctuary of my own home, I am not antisocial. I love meeting new people. Thank goodness for social media! It means I can be alone without being lonely because I can interact with others when I feel able.
I do love meeting people in real life, too – just in small doses, preferably.
Getting dressed up to go somewhere is lovely. I can sometimes feel a bit anxious about a big gathering especially if I am arriving alone, but my strategy is to linger on the periphery until I find someone to talk to.
To be honest, I find big gatherings, and conferences especially exhausting. So much stimulation, so many things to listen to, people to meet and chat to, so much noise! As much as I do enjoy them, they are draining and I’m often glad to get home for a bit of peace and quiet and to recharge.
The graphic below describes very succinctly the effect of people on introverts:
I hope this is useful for introverts and extroverts alike. We’re all people, we just have our different ways – it’s what makes the world interesting!
It sounds rather Monty Python, but I’m an introvert and that’s ok. I sleep all night and read all day…
Speak soon (and by speak, I mean text message).